The faux custard pie wasn't the only vegan in the British parliament last Tuesday. Rupert Murdoch's wife and saviour Wendi Deng, who took out his assailant with her now famous left (or was it right?) hook, also counts among the growing ranks of "power vegans". Like Bill Clinton, Mort Zuckerman and Mike Tyson, Ms Deng--a formidable business operative in her own right, and who just happens to be married to who the World's Most Powerful Media Baron--swears off animal products; she eats no meat, no eggs, no butter, milk or cheese: nothing which flows from the milk of human cruelty to animals.
This interesting fact prompts an idle fantasy: if Deng takes on a bigger role in the running of the News Corp--given that Rupert's progeny have not displayed their mettle nearly so convincingly in recent weeks--could animal rights be the new political issue to benefit from the unfathomable reach and power of the Murdoch empire?
With Deng at the helm and editors and producers across the globe eager to curry favour with the new boss, will we see an international multimedia campaign for veganism that no-one in the world can avoid? I'm not thinking a story here or there about live cattle export, but some sustained screaming headlines and hidden-camera exposés of factory farms wherever they're found, together with soppy side-panels featuring rescued piglets and fluffy yellow chicks. We'll hear anti-government climate-change heel-draggers pointing out ten thousand times over that an expensive government-sponsored light bulb initiative isn't half as bright an idea as mums and dads feeding their kids soy sausage with their beans. I want entertaining talk-show hosts and angry, populist newspaper columnists condemning our governments with scathing attacks for their inaction on dairy cruelty Every.Single.Day.
We might start to see Matthew Scully, speech-writer for Sarah Palin and George W Bush all over the Fox network like a rash, preaching his anti-hunting, pro-Christian, pro-vegetarian message to the religious masses on breakfast chat shows. Vegans can do angry pretty well, but we're less good at entertaining, so we'll need to build up new stars, or harness the energies of existing personalities (remember: consistency in one's personal life is not important for the purposes of Getting the Message Across in the News empire).
The possibilities using over £20billion in annual revenue and 53,000 dedicated and talented employees for good, rather than evil, are exhilarating. There's no question that Deng saved the day for the Murdochs last Tuesday, and she may save his business yet. The question is: can she save the world?
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